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About Other / Professional Premium Member Liam SharpMale/United States Groups :iconmadefire: MADEFIRE
Innovative digital storytelling
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What do you want most in the new year? 

23%
85 deviants said More time to draw.
18%
69 deviants said Gold. Or money. Lots of money.
18%
67 deviants said A change! I'm stagnating! Please, somebody, drag me from this pit of mediocrity!!!!
12%
47 deviants said Love. I needs me some sweet loving - and how!
9%
35 deviants said A job!!!
6%
24 deviants said A different job. Boy, does my job suck!
6%
23 deviants said Peace.
5%
17 deviants said Once again, Sharpy, you totally missed my wants and needs. What's the matter with you? Damn, you're so removed from reality right now...
2%
9 deviants said More time to write.
0%
1 deviant said More time to make music!

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LiamSharp
Liam Sharp
Artist | Professional | Other
United States
Liam Sharp is the co-founder and CCO of Madefire, as well as an artist, writer and publisher. www.madefire.com

He made his debut in the late 1980s drawing Judge Dredd for 2000ad. He later moved to Marvel UK, where he drew the best-selling Marvel UK title ever, Death's Head II. Thereafter he began working mainly in the United States on books as diverse as the X-Men, the Hulk, Spider-Man, Venom, Man-Thing (for Marvel Comics), Superman, Batman, and The Possessed (for DC Comics and Wildstorm), Spawn: The Dark Ages (for Todd McFarlane and Image) and Red Sonja for Dynamite comics.
Liam has also worked on more mature themed books for Verotik, drawing Frank Frazetta's The Death Dealer, and a strip originated by Stan Winston called Realm of the Claw.

In 2004 Liam established MamTor™ Publishing with wife Christina. This saw the launch of the critically acclaimed and award-winning anthology Event Horizon, and the prestigious collaboration with Mother (London) Advertising, Four Feet From a Rat, which appeared as a quarterly comic in Time Out magazine. This led to work on three major advertising campaigns for the Coca-Cola Company, art and design work for Strange Beast, Passion Pictures, Knuckleheads, Shots magazine and Red Arrow Entertainment amongst others.

Liam also worked on designs for the movies Lost in Space, Small Soldiers and the animated series Batman Beyond.

More recent work includes co-creating the controversial DC/Vertigo title Testament with best-selling novelist and media commentator Douglas Rushkoff, the comic adaptation of the seminal XBox game Gears of War for Wildstorm, and the graphic novella Aliens: Fast Track to Heaven for Dark Horse.

Liam's critically acclaimed first novel GOD KILLERS: MACHIVARIUS POINT & OTHER TALES was published in 2008 with a second edition in 2009.

For Madefire he is currently working on an epic personal project that he is co-writing with wife Christina McCormack called Captain Stone is Missing... as well as writing MONO, and co-producing art with Bill Sienkiewicz for a series of Sherlock Holmes stories.
Interests
I promised, a while ago, that I would write a journal that addressed the writing
and creative process as much as anything else - how I start, and even why.

What makes a memorable character?
What are the themes?
How much do you care about popularity - ie. is it a project you're doing for
yourself, or because you hope it will generate a huge, mainstream audience?
What age-range is it?
And as mentioned earlier - why is it important you do it?

But let's start with...

Where do you get you ideas?

Great ideas do not come fully-formed out of the ether. Even the ideas I've
had that were born of dreams, and dragged screaming from my subconscious
before I forgot them, were an accumulation of living experiences. In Metawhal
Alpha the setting is somewhere I lived as a boy. I know every inch of the
Clock Warehouse, the noises and smells of the place, as well as the referenced
folklore. The Pub in Death and the Myrmidon was indeed a local, and it does
have a well covered in glass that you can imagine some ancient, slime-slick
creature inhabiting...

Metawhal Alpha by MadefireStudios Death and The Myrmidon by MadefireStudios

The point here is that it pays to write about what you know.

I've broken that down more specifically into three areas to write about:

1. What you live
2. What you love
3. What you learn


What you live is your first-hand experience - your direct knowledge
of interfacing with the world. That is your feelings, your emotions, what
scares you, excites you, angers you or gives you peace. This includes the
people you know - which will become important for how you build your
cast of characters. You know from living how people interact, how they
respond to things. You know from living how everybody responds to
the same stimulus in unique and individual ways. You know from
living how things smell, how they feel, how they look. And you can
extrapolate whole imagined worlds from this knowledge. Use it!

My life in Shardlow informed Metawhal Alpha and my upcoming
novella 'Paradise Rex Press, Inc.' My life in London informed
'January Man'. My life in the UK and the US, as well as what I
have witnessed historically and culturally, has informed 'Captain
Stone'.

January Man by LiamSharp Captain Stone is Missing... - Episode 1: Chess by MadefireStudios

What you love is part of what defines you, and you will almost
certainly be an expert in these areas! It will help you chose the kind
of characters that populate your world, the genre, the period, the
the smells, sights and sounds. Your love will give your project one
of the most essential ingredients - authenticity. This is crucial to
any fiction if it is to be believed, no matter how outlandish!

I'll comeback to this in the next section!

What you learn is where your world gets its depth. In most great
stories you learn something from the author, and quite often it is
something the author learned that triggered an idea in the first place.

Over the years I've gone from blindly believing in God, for instance,
because my teachers told me I should, to discovering evolution at
a young age, to realizing that there are many compelling points of
view around just about everything. There is no one answer. Over
time my views have radically changed, but my trajectory took me
from blind faith, to science, to a wider look at all religions, to finding
a deep love of anthropology, to new age hippy spirituality, to a
fascination with particle physics and astrophysics, to agnosticism,
to pretty much atheism, and still onwards. My point isn't to say my
path is the RIGHT and only path, it's just to say that my questing
and inquisitive mind led me to a wide and wonderful variety of
subject matter - material that has informed ALL my writing over the
last couple of decades, and the net result is richness and balance.
'The more you know the less you know' is a cliché, and therefore a
truism. It's is also the best way to generate story ideas. Learning
and research will form the bedrock of your story. You need to
know the answers to any questions that may be asked of you. 

What makes a memorable character?


The best characters feel real, and that is generally because they
are based on somebody the author knows, or a fusion of two or
three people. Giving your character the voice of a friend - or
enemy - gives them an immediate cadence. You can imagine
precisely what they sound like, their use of language, their
mannerisms, etc. The way they look can also play a big part.
A friend of mine very precisely matches a character I drew in
'Spawn: the Dark Ages', and he later became Tunny MalTuboly
in my novel 'God Killers'.

You may also be inspired by historical figures, or aspects of
yourself. You may find that a character represents all the aspects
of yourself that are suppressed. He or she may be the calmer,
spiritual aspect of yourself, or the fearless, uncaring beast.
There's fun to be had with wish-fulfillment, setting yourself on
a journey within these stories, this world you are building -
though you should be wary of creating a perfect protagonist
who wins at absolutely everything.

When it comes to imaginative characters you can go way
more exotic. Here your knowledge - what you have learned,
your research - will really help. You might have discovered
the incredible clothing styles of the Inca's, for example (maybe
you watched Apocolypto!) and think, hey - this flying reptile
would look amazing covered in dried white chalky mud, and
festooned with Indigo gemstones!

Alway go a step further than you think you need to. The
added layers of thought will bring your character more life.
He/she/it will seem to have lived more years, and have a
mind unique to them. Remember, your characters have
generally lived a long time. With that comes nuance.

While I was writing 'God Killers' almost out of the blue
it struck me that my character Cherry Longorn could get
really ill at some point. She developed psoriasis, which almost
killed her, and directly informed how she looked and acted
in the wake of such an experience. In fact if she hadn't had
this (unnamed, undiagnosed) condition in the book much
of her resulting experiences would have seemed, well, lame!

Here's a character I am currently developing. I know he
needs to be powerful, and ancient. He needs to have horns,
but I want to somehow not be overboard with that. I'm
fixed on the beard, but should it be white or brown?

New character concept 3 by LiamSharp

A little detail is the tattoo on his face, which represents his
familiar - a horned snake.

New character concept 1 by LiamSharp

And with the musculature - because he's so far beyond human
concepts of strength and power is it OK to go really over-the-
top with him? Or should I reign myself in?

New character concept 5 by LiamSharp

Do I show his face, or does he wear a mask?
Is his face always in the shadows?
How do I make him more alien and other?

When you create your characters you need to know what
part they play in the grand scheme. Are they pivotal? Do
we need to care about them? Even love them? What is their
most prominent quality? Their kindness, or the fear they
instil? Or does the way they look not conform in any way
with the way they actually are?

Regardless of all the above - nothing will ring as true unless
YOU fall in love with your characters and believe in them.


Next up:

What are the themes?
How much do you care about popularity - ie. is it a project you're doing for
yourself, or because you hope it will generate a huge, mainstream audience?
What age-range is it?


Meanwhile:

Which fictional characters have you most identified with over the years?
  • Mood: Love

Journal History

Comments


Add a Comment:
 
:iconkarantheartist:
Karantheartist Featured By Owner 3 days ago  Student Artist
Congrats on doing: COUNTDOWN PRESENTS: LORD HAVOK AND THE EXTREMISTS want to read it!
Reply
:iconcherokeewarrior1964:
CherokeeWarrior1964 Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2014  Professional Photographer
thank you for the fave
Reply
:iconliamsharp:
LiamSharp Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2014  Professional Artist
My pleasure! :-)
Reply
:iconmeylek:
Meylek Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Knowing you're really buff style, I felt you needed to check out this comic for the new World of Warcraft expansion, Warlords of Draenor. If you don't know anything about WoW lore, you may have trouble understanding it. 

But you may already know of this comic and of WoW lore.

Here it is: bnetcmsus-a.akamaihd.net/cms/t…

As for me, I really love the upcoming Warlords of Draenor, as the planet Draenor has some of the best lore in the entire Warcraft series. Look it up, if you don't know.
Reply
:iconliamsharp:
LiamSharp Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2014  Professional Artist
Ah yes, Alex Horley! He and I both worked on Danzig and Frazetta's Jaguar God back in the day. Great looking art! :-)
Reply
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